Rooting against Olympians, scoffing at Capitol police, broaching civil war — meet today’s conservative movement.
The Olympics are typically a boom time for jingoism: patriotic fervor heightening among Americans of all stripes with each gold medal for Team USA. But this year, we’ve seen an unlikely faction of Americans rooting against our athletes: conservatives.
During a late July rally, President Donald Trump claimed that “Americans were happy” about the women’s soccer team losing to Sweden — a loss that he blamed on “wokeism” turning the squad “demented.” Tomi Lahren called Team USA “the largest group of whiny social justice activists the Olympics has seen in decades,” accusing them in a Tuesday Fox News segment of engaging in “typical leftist so-called activism.” And after the men’s basketball team lost to France, Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield said he “took pleasure” in their defeat.
The team is filled with anthem kneelers — and I find it ironic that they’re willing to put USA on their chest when, in the not so distant past, they would kneel for the anthem. Somebody ought to go up there and just rip USA off their chest,” said Stinchfield, who briefly went off the air earlier this year after insinuating that Jewish Americans are foreigners during a monologue.
These attacks on Team USA are not just culture war red meat; they are a reflection of a rising tendency in the conservative movement to reject America itself. In this thinking, the country is so corrupted that it is no longer a source of pride or even worthy of respect. In its most radical versions, you even see cheerleading for revolution or civil war.
Conservative anti-Americanism still pays lip service to love of country: Its proponents declare themselves the true patriots, describing their enemies as the nation’s betrayers. But when the cadre of traitors includes everyone from election administrators to Olympians to the Capitol Police, it becomes clear that the only America they love is the one that exists in their heads. When they contemplate the actual United States — real America, if you will — they are filled with scorn. (Cont)